Meridian Police warn there are some apps parents shouldn't allow their kids to have

Posted at 10:28 PM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 14:33:53-05

Lake Hazel Middle Schoolers are learning a valuable lesson outside the classroom. They're working to make a friendship tree to show kindness to others.  

"I'm hoping they learn kindness can go a long way if they are kind to each other, we have a better school environment," said Jenna Lowman the counselor at Lake Hazel Middle School. 

And in this digital age of bullying, kindness is quickly forgotten.

"Parents have no idea when you give this smart device to your kid, that it can get them into danger very quickly," said School Resource Officer David Gomez of the Meridian Police Department.

When Officer Gomez teaches a class, parents come away shocked.

"Kids have fake accounts," said officer Gomez while speaking to a group of parents. 

From exposing fake social media accounts to showing off secret apps, Gomez uncovers how students keep their parents from prying.

"The applications they use mostly Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook. All the big ones. Instagram is big as well. But every day there are new applications they can use and some people use them to bully. There are a lot of people who use them to bully," explained Gomez.

To keep your kids safe, Officer Gomez has a few tips. First, simply communicate with your child. Have them, walk you through their apps on their phone often. 

"You don't have to be an expert on the internet. You need to be a parent. You have to care," said Officer Gomez.

He recommends students have no more than 200 friends online, and never friend someone you don't know.

 "We do get reported anonymous bullies. However, I don't work very hard to find them. I work hard to educate people, delete them. You should not have an anonymous bully," said Gomez.

Gomez warns there are some apps parents shouldn't allow, like Snapchat, After School, or Ask FM. He says these anonymous, information erasing apps lead to bullying.

 "In the digital age, you have some anonymous dynamics. You have people who anonymously bully you whereas in the old school days a bully had to come up to you in person. But these days you can have someone bully you from half a continent away if you let them," said Gomez.

For middle schoolers at Lake Hazel, keeping kindness in the forefront at their school just may keep the bullies at bay